“Britain’s priority should now be to draw Hamas back into a national unity government with the more moderate Fatah movement and persuade it to renounce violence, the committee said.”
Right. Good luck with that. “British lawmakers say UK should talk to Hamas, Hizbullah,” from the Associated Press:
Britain should begin talking directly with three of the Middle East’s most prominent radical Islamic groups – Hamas, Hizbullah and the Muslim Brotherhood – a committee of lawmakers said in a report released Monday.
British diplomats should speak with moderate elements from such groups
and continue engaging Iran and Syria because their influence can no longer be discounted, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said.
Who are the “moderate elements,” and what exactly makes them either “moderate,” or remotely
“The Muslim Brotherhood is strong in Egypt, and Hamas and Hizbullah cannot be
ignored,” the report said.
The report criticized Britain’s role in the international boycott of Hamas, saying it had contributed to the collapse of the unity government in the Palestinian territories amid the violence and political breakdown that engulfed the West Bank and Gaza in June.
Britain’s priority should now be to draw Hamas back into a national unity government with the more moderate Fatah movement and persuade it to renounce violence, the
The lawmakers urged former Prime Minister Tony Blair, the new envoy for the Quartet, an international group of Middle East mediators, to negotiate directly with the militant Islamic organization.
A similar approach was recommended for dealing with Lebanon’s Hizbullah and the
Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s outlawed opposition party. Lawmakers described Hizbullah’s role
in Lebanon as malign and said the scope of the Brotherhood’s Islamist agenda was uncertain,
but the power and influence of the two made dealing with them unavoidable.
The report said dialogue with Syria and Iran must feature in regional negotiations. It said Damascus – long accused of destabilizing Lebanon – “may slowly be changing for the better.”
If Damascus is behaving any better, it is precisely because it has been under pressure, from the Lebanese, Israel, and the U.S., among others — not out of the kindness of Bashar Assad’s heart or those of his handlers.
Britain’s Foreign Office said it had challenged Hamas to renounce violence before it would talk with the group, which now controls Gaza. “There have to be some ground rules,” the office said in a statement.
While the report largely covered British policy in the Middle East, it also questioned US foreign policy. The committee said the US-backed “roadmap” for Mideast peace
had become irrelevant, that its “surge” strategy in Iraq was unlikely to succeed, and that the “War on Terror” vocabulary espoused by US officials created resentment across the Middle East.
Well, there’s always “War on Jihad.”